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Hotéis e Gastronomia

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Disney or Universal, which park should you visit in Orlando?



Are you planning a trip to Orlando and you're still not sure whether to visit Disney or Universal? Don't worry! Both parks are beautiful and regardless of your choice I'm sure you will not regret it. However, to help a bit in this decision, I wrote this post with some pros and cons of each of these super parks.

As a side note, I want to make it clear that I didn't visit Disney in Orlando, but in Paris. Disney in Orlando has different parks that are not available in Paris, but the tips I wrote here can be used for comparison in general.

Cost benefit

Universal has three parks: Universal Studios, Island of Adventures and the new Volcano Bay. Disney has four parks: Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom. The value of the tickets varies according to which parks you want to visit, the number of days, your age and whether you will visit the parks during high or low season. As an example, a 2 days ticket for the 4 Disney parks for an adult costs $ 259.00. 2 days tickets for Universal's 3 parks for an adult cost $ 295.00, including transportation from one park to another with the Hogwarts Express, which is usually charged extra.

Although the Disney ticket is relatively cheaper, you will hardly be able to enjoy all the parks in just 2 days. The same goes for Universal. Personally I recommend 1 park a day, so Disney could be visited in 4 days and Universal in 3 days.


Queues and fast passes

In that aspect both parks are super annoying: you can stay up to 1 hour in line for certain rides. However, Disney offers the "FastPass +", which allows you to schedule a time for certain rides. As cons, you have to plan very well to be in the ride queue at the specified time. FastPass + is included in the regular ticket, which means you don't pay extra for it, but if you want to use this service you should plan your hours online in advance.

Universal offers 2 additional pass types: Universal Express Unlimited and Universal Express Pass. With Universal Express Unlimited you can skip the line every time for each ride. With Universal Express Pass you can skip the line only once per attraction. Both tickets have an extra cost: Express Unlimited costs US $ 90.00 and Express Pass costs US $ 70.00. 


Themes and characters

Disney is - obviously - home to all the most famous princesses and has themed attractions and rides with several of them including Anna and Elsa from Frozen, Ariel from The Little Mermaid, Belle from the Beauty and the Beast and Alice from Alice in Wonderland. Other themed attractions include characters such as Peter Pan, Dumbo, Pooh Bear, Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story, Pirates of the Caribbean, Stitch from Lilo and Stitch and Avatar. For our geek side, Disney also offers Star Wars related attractions.

Universal also has a wide variety of themed attractions and rides, including characters from The Simpsons, Minions, Jurassic Park, Marvel superheroes like Hulk and Spider-Man and everyone's favourite: Harry Potter.


Rides 

Disney's rides are mostly suitable for children and/ or people like me, who don't feel super comfortable in roller coasters. Of course roller coasters like the "Rock 'n' Roller Coaster" are also available for the more adventurous.

Universal has more rides for adrenaline junkies with several roller coasters available. Still, I took advantage of the "intermediate" rides, like the Spider-Man and King Kong 4D experience, which surprised me.


Conclusion

Both Disney and Universal have pros and cons. Overall, I would say that Disney is truly the "happiest place on Earth", with everything planned, magical and charming. On the other hand, Universal is "cooler", with more rides for adults and a more modern environment. Taking all that into consideration, choose the park that matches your personality the best and I'm sure you'll have lots of fun! 😉

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